Teacher's Guide

Exploring Virtual Reality: A Teacher's Guide for Workshop Facilitation

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Virtual Reality (VR) technology has become increasingly popular in recent years and has the potential to transform the way students learn in the classroom. The benefits of VR technology for learning are manifold. VR provides students with an immersive and experiential approach that can enhance their understanding of complex concepts. Through the use of VR simulations, students can visualize scientific processes, historical events, or geographical features in a way that is not feasible with traditional pedagogical methods. Moreover, VR technology can assist students in developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaborative skills, by affording them the opportunity to explore and experiment in a secure and controlled environment. 

We understand that getting started with VR and bringing the technology into the classroom are not easy endeavors. That’s why we created this guide to share with you the process, tips, and resources to help you design and facilitate a workshop to introduce VR technology to your students.

6 basic steps to design and facilitate your first VR workshop

Similar to planning your lessons, it is important to clearly define the goals and objectives before you begin planning the workshop. Though becoming increasingly popular, VR is still a rather new technology. Your students may never know or have any experience with VR before, so it is crucial to keep your goals small, simple, and realistic. In this case, we would suggest that the goal of the workshop is simply to provide students with an opportunity to experience VR technology and its applications for learning.

There are a variety of VR applications available for educational purposes, so it is important to select those that align with your instructional goals. You can find a list of recommended VR applications at this link or consult with other colleagues who have used VR in their classrooms before. Highly interactive VR applications that require users to perform various tasks while interacting with objects in the virtual environment may confuse and overwhelm students very quickly. We recommend starting with the simplest form of VR applications which is 360/immersive video as this type of content is rather simple and intuitive to control and does not require a high degree of interactivity.

To ensure a smooth workshop experience, you will need to have the appropriate VR equipment, including headsets, controllers, a stable WIFI connection, and any necessary applications already installed. Make sure to test the equipment in advance to ensure that everything is working properly.

Expert tip: If budget allows, you may want to consider purchasing VR device management software such as ManageXR or ArborXR. These software help manage/update devices, control and enhance student experiences, and install new applications much easier and faster.

Once you have selected the VR applications and prepared the equipment, you can begin planning the agenda and activities for the workshop. It is important to design activities that are engaging, experiential, reflective, and aligned with your learning objectives. Keep in mind that the focus of the session should not be the VR technology itself. You can also consider incorporating group work and discussions to encourage collaboration and reflection after experiencing VR.

Before students begin using the VR equipment, it is important to provide a quick introduction about VR technology, clear instructions and guidelines for safe and responsible use, and a walk through of how to use different pieces of VR equipment like headset and controllers. This may include guidelines for remaining seated, taking breaks, and avoiding motion sickness.

During the workshop, it is important to actively facilitate the activities and provide technical support to students as needed. Encourage students to share their experiences and reflections, and provide opportunities for feedback and discussion.

Expert tip: For optimal experience, we highly recommend keeping the group size small, ideally no more than 10 participants. Additionally, we suggest having a technical support person present to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for all students.

Sample Session Plan and Materials

In this section, you can find our plan and materials for a 3-session workshop that we conducted in DFI to introduce our students and faculty to VR. Since most of our participants were new to VR, we designed the series in a way that helped them gradually acclimate to this novel medium by starting from less interactive applications such as 360 videos to more interactive ones like simulations.

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The goal of this session is to familiarize participants with VR equipment through the viewing of 360/immersive videos.


  • Micro Monsters showed a close up of the life cycle of a butterfly and other insects at a microscopic level.
  • Dear Angelica was a literary piece with drawings happening in front of the participants.

Questions for reflection/discussion:

  • What is VR technology and how does it differ from traditional film or video games?
  • What were some of the most interesting facts you learned about insects from watching this episode of Micro Monsters?
  • How did the use of macro photography, slow-motion footage, and VR enhance your viewing experience and understanding of insect behavior and anatomy?
  • How did the story of Dear Angelica make you feel and why?
  • How did the immersive environment of VR make you feel like you were part of the story world?

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The goal of this session is to introduce participants to a variety of applications that can be used for STEAM, social studies, and job/career education and they can choose what interests them to explore.


    • Dissection Simulator is a virtual reality frog dissection experience that has a hands-on dissection opportunity for users
    • Virtual Chemistry Lab is a simulation of a typical school chemistry laboratory
    • Nanome is for molecular modeling, collaborative drug design, 3D visualization of molecular structures.
    • Vermillion is a VR painting simulator that lets you experience oil painting to your headset
  • Job Training/Simulation:
    • Mission: ISS lets users play as an astronaut on the International Space Station;
    • Cooking Simulator allows users to cook with a  realistic kitchen equipped with all kinds of utensils and stands
  • Social Studies
    • The Key is a magical realism experience that will take you on a journey through dreams, facing challenges and difficult decisions, leading to a shocking reveal;
    • The Line is a 15-20 minute interactive story about love and fear of change, allowing you to unlock an enchanted miniature model of two miniature dolls, Pedro and Rosa;

Questions for reflection and discussion:

  • What are some STEAM-related fields or disciplines that you're interested in, and how do you think VR could be used to enhance your learning or understanding in those areas?
  • How might VR simulations be used for social studies? What benefits might VR offer over traditional textbook-based learning in these areas?
  • Can you think of any specific job or career fields where VR technology is already being used, or has the potential to be used in the near future? How might VR training or simulation programs help prepare individuals for these roles?
  • What ethical considerations should be taken into account when using VR technology in educational or job training contexts? For example, how might VR simulations be used to perpetuate harmful stereotypes or biases?
  • Which VR applications or simulations that you've explored during this workshop have interested you the most, and why? What did you find most engaging or informative about these experiences?
  • How might VR technology be used to promote empathy or understanding across diverse cultures or backgrounds? Can you think of any potential limitations or challenges to using VR in this way?
  • What are some potential barriers to implementing VR technology in schools or workplace settings, and how might these barriers be overcome?
  • How might VR technology be used to enhance collaborative learning or teamwork in classroom or workplace settings? What advantages might VR offer over other types of group work or collaboration?

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The goal of this session is to introduce participants to Spatial.io, a platform for collaboration and meeting in VR.


Spatial allows users to collaborate in a virtual space using virtual reality technologies. Users can import 3D models, images, videos, and other media into the workspace, and interact with them using a range of virtual tools and gestures. Spatial.io is designed for use in a variety of settings, including remote work, virtual meetings, and team collaboration.

Questions for discussion and reflection:

  • What are some potential benefits of using Spatial.io for remote collaboration and virtual meetings? How might it differ from traditional video conferencing platforms?
  • How might Spatial.io be used in educational or training settings to enhance remote learning and collaboration? Can you think of any potential challenges or limitations to using VR technology in this way?
  • What features or tools within Spatial.io have you found most useful for collaboration and teamwork? How might these tools be applied to different types of projects or tasks?
  • Can you think of any industries or fields that might particularly benefit from using Spatial.io for remote collaboration or training? What advantages might it offer over traditional methods of communication or training?
  • How might Spatial.io be used to promote accessibility and inclusivity in remote collaboration and learning? Can you think of any potential limitations or challenges to using VR technology in this way?
  • What ethical considerations should be taken into account when using Spatial.io for remote collaboration or training? For example, how might privacy or data security be impacted by using this technology?

Please note that these applications and their respective companies have not been vetted or endorsed by Teachers College. Teachers College does not assume any responsibility for the accessibility, privacy, or security of these applications. The usage of these applications is at the sole discretion of the user, and Teachers College disclaims any legal liability associated with their usage. It is the responsibility of the users to conduct their own research and adhere to applicable laws, regulations, and best practices when incorporating these applications into their educational activities.

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